Truck stop: Sunset Park officials demand study on how new marine terminal will impact local truck traffic

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They want their study, and they want it now.

The top brass touting the soon-to-be-reactivated shipping hub at the long-awaited South Brooklyn Marine Terminal in Sunset Park must immediately conduct an study to determine how it will impact local truck traffic in the already truck-heavy neighborhood, demanded officials on the neighborhood’s Community Board 7.

“We have a serious issue with truck traffic — the truck route on 20th Street has been on our docket for over a decade now,” said board chairman Cesar Zuniga. “We have to have these conversations about the infrastruc­ture.”

Earlier this month, local elected officials cheered the projected future use of the terminal — which was built in the 1960s and used as a container terminal through the 1980s — as an economic stimulant that will create more than 250 jobs and reduce 11,000 truck trips annually after it likely becomes active again this year, according to the city Economic Development Corporation.

But the district manager of the community board said that the estimated 11,000 fewer truck trips applies to the entire region of New York and New Jersey — not Sunset Park, which merits its own study, especially given locals’ well-documented frustration with the truck traffic that snakes through the nabe to reach its factories and waterfront, and even to reach the highway.

“We talked about reducing 11,000 truck trips regionally, but I would like to know what the numbers are locally,” said Jeremy Laufer. “We need to see what the study shows.”

Laufer said the terminal could very well reduce truck traffic locally by relying more on the freight trains and barges rather than trucks to transport goods through the neighborhood and beyond but that it will also depend on the types of businesses using the terminal.

“We need to see what the mix of businesses and sub-tenants are,” Laufer said.

The president of Red Hook Container Terminal — which will work with Industry City to operate it — said the figure was, indeed, reflective of the businesses that will use the terminal, but he declined to specify whether it referred to truck traffic reduction locally or regionally.

“The estimate of 11,000 reduction in truck moves is based on the estimated business we are targeting at South Brooklyn Marine Terminal,” said Mike Stamatis.

The law does not require an impact study on truck traffic for the terminal, since its reactivation is under a lease signing — through 2054 — rather than a land-use change, according to a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation. But he added that the agency is working with the Red Hook Container Terminal to develop measures to “limit local impact,” which it plans to share with locals soon.

“We will be sharing early iterations of those measures with the community and gathering feedback to ensure that concerns are addressed and the voice of the community is reflected in the reactivation of the terminal,” the spokesman said.

But Zuniga insisted that the neighborhood deserves to know specifically how the terminal will affect local traffic— and even if the study is not required by law.

“I would hope that even if it’s not required, they would do it to understand how this is going to tax our infrastructure a lot more than it is already,” Zuniga said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:43 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Boris from Borough Park says:
We want industrial jobs, not hotels!!

We don’t want trucks!!
May 30, 2018, 6:12 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Just how do you expect to get these industrial jobs without trucks?
May 30, 2018, 8 am
Ben from Bay Ridge says:
May 30, 2018, 8:38 am
Ms. Me from Bay Ridge says:
I think Boris was being sarcastic.
May 30, 2018, 10:41 am
Larry Littlefield from Windsor Terrace says:
A transportation planner told me years ago that people don't like trucks, but they like the things that come in trucks.

"Laufer said the terminal could very well reduce truck traffic locally by relying more on the freight trains and barges rather than trucks to transport goods through the neighborhood."

Take the roof off 4th Avenue and turn the subway into a canal?
May 30, 2018, 1:50 pm
Kathryn Gilchrist from Sunset Park says:
Bravo, CB7, for bringing this up. Very few jobs are being created by SBMT, just 250. Are these jobs going to Sunset Park or even Brooklyn residents? Who willl monitor that? Increased enforcement of the truck routes will be needed so trucks don’t sneak onto residential blocks. The dinky train tracks over there don’t look like they’ll last long if huge containers are put on them. Glad you are trying to get neighborhood concerns addressed.
May 30, 2018, 3:50 pm
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park says:
I was present at the announcement of the Sustainable South Brooklyn Marine Terminal(SSBMT) in early May at the waterfront. I was the one with the poster: DEATH TO THE BQX.

Seems it is planned that 900,000 metric tons of materials cargo will arrive annually to the Sunset Park waterfront. The purported benefits are an add 250 quality-jobs to this new job hub and the elimination of more than 11,000 truck trips each year.

I have questions. Are these 250 Full Time Equivalent(FTE) jobs? Are these jobs that exist at the Newark seaport now and will those current job-holders travel to Sunset Park to perform the work, or are these new unfilled positions that will be advertised to locals? Will the reduction of 11,000 truck trips annually be a reduction from the Bayonne Bridge and the VNB, but only added truck trips to our local truck routes? When the cargo arrives at the Sunset Park waterfront how exactly will it be forwarded from the shoreline to its final destinations? Re-loaded on other ships or barges at the SSBMT? To the rail line at 1st Avenue and on to the LIRR at 65th Street? Finally, just how many truck trips will originate at the SSBMT onto 39th Street?

Currently there are plans by the City to curtail traffic thru-flow on all the Sunset Park truck routes--Protected Bike Lanes on 4th Avenue, the Brooklyn Queens Connection trolley rails on 3rd and 2nd Avenues and 1st Avenue and the Greenway bike route on 3rd & 2nd & 1st. Avenues.

Industry City wishes to add 10,000 new jobs at their adjacent job site. The Mayor wants 5,000 new positions at nearby Bush Terminal. Perhaps 1,000 office jobs will be housed at Sunset Yards now under construction on 39th Street just above 3rd Avenue.

Not all these plans will fly in the place provided. What's there now or is under construction will continue. The City will have to pick and choose what else can exist in a small limited job hub. Future strain on the roads will only force trucks onto the residential streets upland. All these avenues in the Gowanus Corridor are much-used through-traffic urban arteries both morning and evenings. Doesn't look good for the BQX.
May 30, 2018, 4:38 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Dig a canal on 5th Ave and have electric boats deliver the goods. Isn’t a light rail better suited traveling down 2nd ave. ?
May 30, 2018, 8:20 pm
Clarita from Park Slope says:
What about the parking situation?! Where will the parking be?!?! (I'm not talking about bicycle parking)
May 31, 2018, 5:40 am
TOM MURPHY from Sunset Park says:
You are wise, Clarita, for one who has lived but one lifetime.

Having failed to get real people to curtail driving with incentives(better transit, bikes, etc.) that has failed to deliver. any progress has been more than offset by car-share(50% increase in Manhattan and e-commerce(double local deliveries). The "deep state" of NYC DoT has conspired to deliver disincentives (diminished free parking at the curb, protected bike lanes, more parking placards for government workers, speed cameras, citiwide blanket 'default' lower speed limits, higher parking fees and fines, etc.). Do you remember voting on these or voting for an elected City official who advocated for it? No, these are not vote-magnets.

Bravo, Kathryn. Now attend the next CB Transportation meeting on Monday, June 11. The subject for discussion is a plan for traffic management(?) in this same waterfront area. Anyone can attend and join in the discussion. The monthly CB meeting is on Wednesday, June 20th, and you can see if anything comes of it. If not you can request to comment that night as well.

Same for you Clarita.
May 31, 2018, 1:30 pm

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